Pieces Starting To Move - Notes And Ends And Such
While the true pawn-moving won't begin until Vancouver completes this meltdown and we laugh until July, there are some things rumbling around the league that could, and perhaps should, affect the Hawks.
-First things first, as McClure mentioned in the comments in the Anniversary post, the Daily News is reporting that Chris Drury is going to get bought out. This isn't really a shock, it's been rumored from months. And as soon as it surfaced, I have been all over the Hawks trying to sign Drury. Ignore his contract and his production relative to that. Drury would make a most excellent fourth-line center. He can still kill penalties expertly, and win faceoffs. We can no longer say that winning draws isn't important, we saw how that went last year. He would provide insanely more finish than Ryan Johnson could, he's only a year removed from a 20-goal season. He could fill in the #3 role for 5-10 games if Bolland got hurt again. But most of all, the dude's got a sack that can crush skulls (um ew?). And he would provide veteran leadership which I think we can all agree was lacking on the Hawks last year. You may not think fourth-line centers matter, but for a Hawks team that lives to roll four lines, they most certainly do. Ben Smith and Drury together on that unit? Yeah, I'll take that. And he won't be expensive. To boot, at 35 you'd have to believe he's only in it for one more chance to win. It makes an awful lot of sense.
-Also, with Ilya Bryzgalov heading to Philly, and there apparent determination to sign him even though everyone's saying he's asking for housing on Mt. Olympus, the Flyers are going to have to lose some pieces. Either they can't re-sign Leino, or they'll have to jettison some of Versteeg, Carter, Hartnell, Carle, or Coburn (or in the ultimate dream, no way they'd be this stupid but it is Philly after all, Mike Richards). They only have 400k of cap space now and that's without Bryz. Of that list, Hartnell or Coburn look pretty tasty to me. It's worth a phone call if nothing else. Hartnell does have a no-trade, but somehow I think Chicago can probably always end up on someone's allowed list.
-A word on Roberto Luongo here: I doubt any other blog has gotten more mileage or joy from the cartoon that Borat can sometimes be (and no team has probably benefited more than the Hawks in the postseason the past few years). However, during this postseason, Luongo has fallen so far down my Asshole-Canuck list, I can't even really fathom it. That doesn't mean I'm rooting for him or anything. Yes, Luongo has bitched about officiating in the past. But did he take it to the level that Vigneault, Bieksa, Gillis, or whatever Sedin is talking has? Not really. Yes, Luongo has dived to get calls in the past, but is it the absurdist theater that Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows are? Not even close. Luongo also hasn't bitten anyone, cracked someone with a criminally late hit, turtled when confronted by an actual adult, or taken shots while being corralled by a linesmen. For the most part, Bob has generally stood up and been accountable when he wasn't good, and then improved his play. His faults are simply his play. It's kind of astounding that that could be considered admirable on that team. Tells you everything you need to know about them.